Book Review: Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

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Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata (trans. Ginny Tapley Takemori)
Published: 2016
Genre: Fiction
Format: Kindle
Pages: 163
Dates Read: March 18-24, 2019
Grade: B+
Synoposis: Keiko Furukura had always been considered a strange child, and her parents always worried how she would get on in the real world, so when she takes on a job in a convenience store while at university, they are delighted for her. For her part, in the convenience store she finds a predictable world mandated by the store manual, which dictates how the workers should act and what they should say, and she copies her coworkers’ style of dress and speech patterns so she can play the part of a normal person. However, eighteen years later, at age 36, she is still in the same job, has never had a boyfriend, and has only few friends. She feels comfortable in her life but is aware that she is not living up to society’s expectations and causing her family to worry about her. When a similarly alienated but cynical and bitter young man comes to work in the store, he will upset Keiko’s contented stasis — but will it be for the better? (from Goodreads) Continue reading “Book Review: Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata”

Book Review: The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

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The White Queen by Philippa Gregory
Series: Cousins’ War #1
Published: 2009
Genre: Historical Fiction
Format: Paperback
Pages: 438
Dates Read: February 28 – March 16, 2019
Grade: C-
Synopsis: Elizabeth Woodville, of the House of Lancaster, is widowed when her husband is killed in battle. Aided and abetted by the raw ambition and witchcraft skills of her mother Jacquetta, Elizabeth seduces and marries, in secret, reigning king Edward IV, of the family of the white rose, the House of York. As long as there are other claimants to Edward’s throne, the profound rivalries between the two families will never be laid to rest. Violent conflict, shocking betrayal and murder dominate Elizabeth’s life as Queen of England, passionate wife of Edward and devoted mother of their children. (from the author’s website)

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Book Review: Magical Negro by Morgan Parker

mnMagical Negro by Morgan Parker
Published: 2019
Genre: Poetry
Format: Paperback
Pages: 112
Source: Library
Dates Read: March 14-16, 2019
Grade: C+
Synopsis: Magical Negro is an archive of Black everydayness, a catalog of contemporary folk heroes, an ethnography of ancestral grief, and an inventory of figureheads, idioms, and customs. These American poems are both elegy and jive, joke and declaration, songs of congregation and self-conception. They connect themes of loneliness, displacement, grief, ancestral trauma, and objectification, while exploring and troubling tropes and stereotypes of Black Americans. Focused primarily on depictions of Black womanhood alongside personal narratives, the collection tackles interior and exterior politics—of both the body and society, of both the individual and the collective experience. In Magical Negro, Parker creates a space of witness, of airing grievances, of pointing out patterns. In these poems are living documents, pleas, latent traumas, inside jokes, and unspoken anxieties situated as firmly in the past as in the present—timeless Black melancholies and triumphs. (from Goodreads)

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Book Review: Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

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Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
Series: Sevenwaters #1
Published: 1999
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Format: Paperback
Pages: 544
Source: Purchased
Dates Read: March 2-8, 2019
Grade: A
Synopsis: Lovely Sorcha is the seventh child and only daughter of Lord Colum of Sevenwaters. Bereft of a mother, she is comforted by her six brothers who love and protect her. Sorcha is the light in their lives, they are determined that she know only contentment.

But Sorcha’s joy is shattered when her father is bewitched by his new wife, an evil enchantress who binds her brothers with a terrible spell, a spell which only Sorcha can lift-by staying silent. If she speaks before she completes the quest set to her by the Fair Folk and their queen, the Lady of the Forest, she will lose her brothers forever.

When Sorcha is kidnapped by the enemies of Sevenwaters and taken to a foreign land, she is torn between the desire to save her beloved brothers, and a love that comes only once. Sorcha despairs at ever being able to complete her task, but the magic of the Fair Folk knows no boundaries, and love is the strongest magic of them all… (from Goodreads)

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Book Review: The Twenty-Ninth Year by Hala Alyan

ttny.pngThe Twenty-Ninth Year by Hala Alyan
Published: 2019
Genre: Poetry
Format: Paperback
Pages: 96
Source: Library
Dates Read: March 4-5, 2019
Grade: B-
Synopsis: In Islamic and Western tradition, age twenty-nine is a milestone, a year of transformation and upheaval.

For Hala Alyan, this is a year in which the past–memories of family members, old friends and past lovers, the heat of another land, another language, a different faith–winds itself around the present. Hala’s ever-shifting, subversive verse sifts together and through different forms of forced displacement and the tolls they take on mind and body. Poems leap from war-torn cities in the Middle East, to an Oklahoma Olive Garden, a Brooklyn brownstone; from alcoholism to recovery; from a single woman to a wife. This collection summons breathtaking chaos, one that seeps into the bones of these odes, the shape of these elegies.

A vivid catalog of trauma, heartache, loneliness, and joy, The Twenty-Ninth Year is an education in looking for home and self in the space between disparate identities. (from Goodreads) Continue reading “Book Review: The Twenty-Ninth Year by Hala Alyan”

ARC Review: Lovely War by Julie Berry

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Lovely War by Julie Berry
Published: March 5, 2019
Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Format: eARC
Pages: 480
Source: NetGalley
Dates Read: March 2-4, 2019
Grade: B+
Synopsis: It’s 1917, and World War I is at its zenith when Hazel and James first catch sight of each other at a London party. She’s a shy and talented pianist; he’s a newly minted soldier with dreams of becoming an architect. When they fall in love, it’s immediate and deep–and cut short when James is shipped off to the killing fields.

Aubrey Edwards is also headed toward the trenches. A gifted musician who’s played Carnegie Hall, he’s a member of the 15th New York Infantry, an all-African-American regiment being sent to Europe to help end the Great War. Love is the last thing on his mind. But that’s before he meets Colette Fournier, a Belgian chanteuse who’s already survived unspeakable tragedy at the hands of the Germans.

Thirty years after these four lovers’ fates collide, the Greek goddess Aphrodite tells their stories to her husband, Hephaestus, and her lover, Ares, in a luxe Manhattan hotel room at the height of World War II. She seeks to answer the age-old question: Why are Love and War eternally drawn to one another? But her quest for a conclusion that will satisfy her jealous husband uncovers a multi-threaded tale of prejudice, trauma, and music and reveals that War is no match for the power of Love. (from Goodreads)
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